Public voices concerns on content in Ozark library’s ‘young adult’ section

Many residents are fighting to have content discussing things like LGBTQ+ moved from the section at the library, while others feel it is right where it is.
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 7:05 PM CDT
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OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) - Citizens spewed into the streets, packing out the meeting room of the Ozark Dale-County Library (ODCL) to voice concerns over books found in the ‘young adult’ section.

Concern was raised to Mayor Mark Blankenship from different citizens finding books with LGBTQ+ characters and sexually suggestive content in the section.

Social media post and text messages from Mayor Blankenship were made discussing the library potentially losing funding and getting these books out of the library completely.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with LGBT books, that just happens to be the books sent to me,” said Mayor Blankenship. “I’m telling you, it is terrible when you read this stuff and we do not need them in this library.”

That being said, library vice-chairman Mike Cairns ensured no books would be removed from the collection, but may be moved to a new section.

“It’ll just be moved to the adult section if it is adult material, not banned,” said Cairns.

Many differing opinions were expressed at the podium throughout the meeting.

Some wanted to see the books moved from the young adult section.

“I say, let’s put the books in the adult section,” said one resident. “The adults can check them out and they can give them to whoever they want.”

Some felt the books did not need to be moved at all, deeming the concepts in the books acceptable for ages 12-18.

“We should not try to keep our kids from learning about other people,” said another citizen. “This is what makes them accept other people.”

Many also expressed the need for parents to step up and have open conversations regarding these concepts, or prevent their kids from checking out the material if they deem it unfit for their child.

“If you think your child is not mature enough for the young adult section, keep them in the children’s,” said another citizen.

Secretary Christina Faulkner made a motion to look into the legality of monitoring books being checked out and moving books to different sections. The possibility of having parents sign a waiver about whether or not they want their kids to be able to check out certain books was discussed as well.

Chairman Liz Delaney said books are put into a certain section based off publisher decision.

The staff of the library asks if you find a book of concern in a section to fill out a form found on their website.

The library board will continue conversations o the aforementioned motion at their next meeting on September 20 at 11 a.m.

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